Time and again objection is issued by the ignorant that killers of Imam Husayn (a.s) were Shias. Though more than once those objections have been replied and refuted, yet once in a while the same voice is heard again. I would like to present a criterion by which truth and falsehood can be distinguished and any impartial, justice-minded person would have no difficulty in differentiating between truth and falsehood.
If we ponder upon the following three points there would be no problem in taking a decision:
(1) Which sect is in perfect agreement with the holy personalities and their deeds and which group is in opposition to them.
(2) Which sect considered Yazid to obligatorily deserve curse and in the view of which sect is he obligatorily qualified for obedience (or in whose view at least he should not be cursed)?
(3) Which sect observes aloofness and harbors hatred towards the military chiefs of Yazid and those who participated in the slaying of Imam Husayn (a.s) and which group considers them reliable in religious matters and takes narrational reports from them and praise and admire them?
After an inquiry into these three things a decision could easily be reached whether the killers of Husayn (a.s) are connected to the sect, which until today considers Yazid accursed and damned or to the sect with personages who shower praises on the military chiefs of Yazid and consider Yazid himself worthy of obedience.
Now we shall think upon the first problem: “Which sect is in perfect agreement with the holy personality of the martyr of Karbala’ and his deeds, and which group is in opposition to him.”
There is no need at all to say this regarding the Shias that they consider Imam Husayn (a.s) obligatorily worthy of obedience by the command of Allah, that he is appointed by Allah and was the true successor of the Prophet. They consider each saying and action of his as per the will of Allah. They consider his truce and battle the mirror of the best wisdoms and his rising and sitting a reflection of the Divine hidden wisdom. In view of Shias, Husayn (a.s) was a piece of Muhammadan effulgence. His flesh and blood were flesh and blood of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). Love towards him is obligatory on all. His obedience was a channel for perfection of faith. He was pure of every mistake and deviation. Loving him is recompense of prophethood:
Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives…1
His being is purified of every physical and spiritual filth and impurity:
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying.2
He is the son of the Prophet.
Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.3
He is the flower of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). He is from the Prophet and the Prophet is from him. His Imamate is neither based on an armed uprising nor allegiance of the people. He is the chief of the youths of Paradise. He was infallible since the beginning of his life until the last moments. The infallibility of the Holy Imam is the special belief of the Shias, which is not shared by any non-Shia sect. (Although many Ahl al-Sunnah researcher scholars consider them protected from sins).
As for the non-Shia sects, among them also all Hanafi, Shafei and most Hanbali consider Imam Husayn (a.s) on the right and Yazid on the wrong – quoting references here would unnecessarily prolong the discussion, hence I am just giving here a few names of scholars and the books in which they have mentioned those points:
(1) Allamah Qastalani (Shahabuddin Abul Abbas Ahmad bin Muhammad died 923 A.H..) – Irshad as-Saari Sharh Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 10, Pg. 139
(2) Ibn Jauzi (died 1200 A.D.), Ar Raddo A’laal Mutasibul Aneed al Maane min dhimme Yazeed
(3) Sibte Ibn Jauzi (died 1257 A.D.), Tadkeratul Khawaasul Ummah
(4) Allamah Ahmad bin Hajar al-Haithami (died 974 A.H.) Sawaiqul Mohreqa, Pg. 132-134
(5) Imam Jalaluddin Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr as-Suyuti (died 911 A.H.), Tarikhul Khulafa
(6) Allamah Taftazani (Saaduddin Masud bin Umar, died 1389 A.D.), Sharh Aqaid Nasafi
(7) Shaykh Muhammad Sabban (Muhammad bin ‘Ali, died 1792 A.D.), Isafur Raghibeen
(8) Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlavi (died 1824 A.D.), Madarijun Nubuwwah, Jazbal Quloob
(10) Maulana Abdul Hayy Farangi Mahli: Fatawi, Vol. 3, Pg. 7
(11) Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan Bhopali (died 1889 A.D.), Baghiyatur Rayed Fee Sharhul Aqaid, Pg. 97
(12) Maulana Muhammad Mateen Farangi Mahli, Waseelatun Najaat, Pg. 290
(13) Mufti Muhammad Ikramuddin, Sadatil Kaunain fee Fazailil Hasnain
(14) Qadi Muhammad Sulaiman, Rahmatallil Aalameen, Pg. 233
This is a sample that includes names of Hanafi, Shafei and Hanbali scholars and who have clearly said that the steps of Imam Husayn (a.s) were on the right and that he was martyred in a state of oppression.
On the other hand there are those Hanbalis who consider Ibn Taiymiyah as their leader and they are Nasibis4 and Kharijis5 who in order to deceive the common people, call themselves Sunnis. Such people consider Yazid as a rightful caliph hence they think that Imam Husayn (a.s) was (God forbid) in the wrong and thus worthy of capital punishment, rather obligatorily deserving of being killed. In the present age, an example of such a person is Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi, who by writing, Caliphate of Muawiyah and Yazid has hurt the feelings of all the Muslims. In the past age even before Ibn Taiymiyah (died 728 A.H.), Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Abdullah Ibn Arabi (died 543 A.H.) had sung the same tune when he said:
“Husayn was not killed but by the sword of his grandfather (that is, as per the command of the Shariah) because the allegiance for Yazid had been paid before and Husayn had rebelled against it.”
This Ibn Arabi had lived before Muhiyyuddin Ibn Arabi (the writer of Futuhaat-e-Makkiyyah) and died in 638 A.H. The following statements of Tadkeratul Khawaas are about him:
Hafiz (One who has learnt the Qur’an by heart), Allamah (Most learned), Qadi (Judge), Faqih (Jurist) and on the position of Ijtihad, Abu Bakr Ibn Arabi was the student of Imam Ghazzali (died 505 A.H.). The same Imam Ghazzali who was famous by the title of Hujjatul Islam (Proof of Islam) and who is considered as one who strengthened the foundations of religion, and whose famous verdict (Fatwa) is that:
“It is unlawful to sermonize about Husayn and his companions because it leads to criticism of the companions.”
It is obvious that if he had considered the actions of Imam Husayn (a.s) rightful, he would not have decreed the mention of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s) as a prohibited deed.
Keeping all these things in mind one is compelled to say that in the view of these scholars, Imam Husayn (a.s) commands no respect and dignity. And the denial of the Imam to pay allegiance to Yazid, in their opinion, was such a serious mistake that their writers say that Imam Husayn (a.s) was (God forbid) of a very stubborn nature. Before Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi also, a person had written a book titled, The Great Martyr after reading which it seems that Yazid was a rightful, true and accepted caliph of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and that Imam Husayn (a.s) had without any right or acceptable excuse, solely in greed of rulership, rebelled against him. His own relatives tried to make him understand but he did not follow their advice. At last, Yazid’s governor killed him in order to keep him from mischief and after trying utmost, after exhausting all options and after being despaired of every effort, in extremely helpless circumstances in order to maintain peace he had to take such a step.
The writer had given his name as ‘Abul Kalam Azad’ on the book. Keeping in mind the fame and position of the writer, Islah Organization Khajwa (Bihar) considered it necessary to reply the book and the reply titled, Shahadatul Uzma is still available. After independence of India someone called the attention of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (Education Minister) towards this book published under his name. He expressed ignorance about it and announced that he had no connection with that book. In my opinion his announcement of dissociation was based on sincerity because in all his writings the respected Maulana always mentioned the incomparable sacrifice of Imam Husayn (a.s) with utmost respect and devotion. For example see the long editorial of al-Hilal Journal that was published on the occasion of Muharram and which was republished verbatim in the Inquilab Newspaper of Lahore, Shabbir Number 1927 A.D. from which Khalifa Sayyid Muhammad Hashim Patiyalvi has quoted in the second part of his book, Namoos Islam on Pg. 274-278.
Anyway, people like Ibn Arabi, Ibn Taiymiyah and others have time and again directly or indirectly, expressed the opinion that the action of Imam Husayn (a.s) was not rightful.
Now pay attention to another aspect, which is a reflection of the first one. That is, how a particular sect regards Yazid? After the first problem has been cleared, there is no need for details here. Yet for further clarification and more confirmation we would like to state a few things.
Shias consider his name as an abusive word and their child considers not only Yazid but the family tree and clan of Yazid, as per Qur’anic directions, an accursed tree, the details of which have already been given in the previous chapters.
On the other hand Wahabi gentlemen, followers of Ibn Taiymiyah consider Yazid as the rightful caliph. The statement of Abu Bakr Ibn Arabi has already been mentioned above. Mulla ‘Ali Qari on Pg. 84 of Sharh Fiqhe Akbar and Ibn Hajar al-Haithami who is mentioned by us before have given the proof of their hypocrisy. The latter has, in Sawaiqul Mohreqa,6 included Yazid among the twelve Imams regarding whom is the tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) that religion shall remain dominant until 12 Imams (caliphs) are present.
Ibn Taiymiyah and his co-religionist Wahabi scholars try their utmost to save Yazid from curse and damnation. Sometimes decree is issued that Yazid was a Muslim and cursing a Muslim is unlawful. Sometimes the responsibility of the killing of Husayn is attributed from the beginning to the end to Ibn Ziyad so that Yazid could be saved. Sometimes the tradition is concocted that on the Day of Judgment Imam Husayn (a.s) would forgive Yazid. In other words, thousands of interpretations are tried so that Yazid does not become the target of curses.
A poet has beautifully versified this matter:
“O one who says that we should not curse Yazid and his progeny.
Because it is possible that the Almighty Allah may be merciful to him.
And the Progeny of the Prophet may forgive him.
Then are we not more deserving of being forgiven as we have only cursed Yazid?”
The fact is that Shias, Hanafis, Shafeis and moderate Hanbalis have absolute hatred for Yazid, while Nasibis, Wahabis (most of whom call themselves Hanbalis to deceive people) not only refrain from cursing Yazid and criticizing him, they also try to restrain other people from it.
In view of Shias, Yazid and other killers of Imam Husayn (a.s) were infidels and they curse them and those who approve their actions and the Shias consider them inmates of Hell. Hanafi, Shafei and moderate Hanbalis also completely hate the killers of Imam Husayn (a.s) and consider them worthy of being denounced.
While the behavior of Nasibis and Wahabis is exactly opposite. Those who are connected to the murder of Imam Husayn (a.s) are generally, in their view, worthy of praise. Some of them have reached to the position of caliphate and some remembered as ‘truthful’ and trustworthy and a lot of them are included among the narrators of the ‘Sihah Sittah’ books and religious laws are derived from their traditions.
Now I shall mention their opinions about each of those people:
He was the commander Yazid’s army. He was directly responsible for all those cruelties after Yazid and Ibn Ziyad. He had told his cronies: Be witness that the first arrow shot to the army of Husayn is mine. Regarding such character, the writer of Tahzibut Tahzib says:
“He has narrated traditions from his father and Abu Sa’eed Khudri, two companions of the Prophet. His son, Ibrahim has related from him and his grandson, Abu Bakr Ibn Hafs Ibn Umar has narrated from his son. Abu Ishaq Sabiee, Ibn Hareeth, Yazid Ibn Maryam, Qatadah, Zuhri and Yazid Ibn Habib and others have also narrated from him.
Ajali has said that he used to narrate traditions from his father and through him many other people used to narrate. And he was a Tabe-ie (companion of a companion) and was trustworthy. He is the same person who killed Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (a.s).”7
The following is mentioned about him in Taqreebut Tahzib:
Umar Ibn Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas Madani was a resident of Kufa. He was a very truthful man but people began to detest him only because he was the commander of the army that slew Husayn. He was from the second category of narrators.
It should be clear that the above statement is of the Shaykhul Islam of Wahabis, Ibn Hajar.
Among those who related from Umar Ibn Saad are Abu Ishaq Sabiee, Qatadah and Imam Zuhri. These three are the pillars of the Wahabi science of traditions. They are considered teachers of the teachers according to Wahabis. Their acceptance of traditions of Umar Ibn Saad proves his trustworthiness and truthfulness. Apart from this, Imam Nasai, Ibn Majah and Imam Bukhari have also in their books quoted traditions from Umar Ibn Saad. This further proves how reliable he is in their view.
In such a situation the dislike of the people or the saying of Ibn Moin that: “How can one who killed Husayn be reliable?” is not worthy of attention because on the gloss of Mishkat, Mulla ‘Ali Qari, who is considered a leader of scholasticism has justified it in the following way:
“Umar Ibn Saad himself did not kill Husayn. And it is possible that his participation in the army was on the basis of his personal opinion and Ijtihad. It is also possible that later his condition improved and that his end was good. And who is such that has not committed any sin or made any mistake? Thus if such things are made open to objections, scholars of traditions shall have a very difficult time.”
Inspite of writing in Mizanul Etedal that: “He participated in the battle against Husayn,” he says, “He himself is not guilty. Shoba through the chains of his Shaykhs has narrated from him and other people have narrated from him.”
He was the killer of Imam Husayn (a.s). Ibn Ziyad sent him at the head of a 4000-strong army and instructed him that if Umar Ibn Saad showed even the slightest hesitation he should demote him from commandership and himself take over the command of the army. Shimr is also an authoritative source of Wahabi traditions.
It is mentioned in Tahzibut Tahzib that:
“Shimr Ibn Ziljaushan Abu Sabigha Az-Zabyani – He has narrated from his father and Abu Ishaq Shabee has narrated from Shimr.”
These points are also mentioned in Mizanul Etedal and al-Istiab. Tadkeratul Khawaas explains it further saying:
“And Amash, Shoba, Thawri, Israel, Abul Ahwas, Abu Bakr Ibn Ayyash and Sufyan bin Umayyah have narrated from him.”
Abu Ishaq Shobi has justified the veracity of Shimr in the following words:
“Shimr used to pray with us and used to say: ‘O Lord! You know that I am a gentleman. So forgive me.’ Abu Ishaq says: I asked: ‘How can Allah forgive you? You have killed the son of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w).’ Shimr replied: ‘Woe be unto you. What could we do? Our leaders commanded us for it and we did not disobey them. If we had disobeyed, our consequences would have been worse that the killing of Husayn.’”
This accursed man was also at the head of a 4000-strong army in Karbala’. After the martyrdom of His Eminence, Muslim, Ibn Ziyad had entrusted him with the duty of guarding the limits of Kufa so that in case Imam Husayn (a.s) arrives he could be apprehended. His Eminence, Hurr was under his command. After the carnage of Karbala’ during the attack on Medina he was practically the commander of the army because Muslim bin Uqbah, the army chief was unwell and after the plunder of Medina Muslim bin Uqbah died. Hussayn succeeded him and the siege of Mecca was conducted under his command. He is also a reporter of traditions from the companions. Regarding him it is mentioned in Tahzibut Tahzib that:
“He was a commander among the commanders of Yazid Ibn Muawiyah who participated in the plunder of Medina. Then he was the commander in chief of Yazid in the siege against Ibn Zubair. He is a famous personality.”
It is mentioned in Mizanul Etedal that he has related very few traditions but no one objects against him even though he was among the killers of Husayn (a.s). Rather, Bukhari, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi and Nasai, all four traditionists have comfortably quoted his traditions in their books, which are from the Sihah Sittah8 and in whom all the traditions are considered authentic.
He was the nephew of Abu Bakr and the son of the well-known hypocrite, Ashath Ibn Qais. He was also the brother of Judah binte Ashath, the killer wife of Imam Hasan (a.s). Ibn Ziyad had dispatched him to fight His Eminence, Muslim and in Karbala’ he was also having a 4000-strong army. He is also a very respectable tradition reporter of Ahl al-Sunnah. Regarding him, it is mentioned in Tahzibut Tahzib that:
“Muhammad Ibn Ashath Ibn Qais Kandi’s agnomen was Abul Qasim. He was a resident of Kufa. His mother was the sister of Abu Bakr Siddiq. Ibn Ashath has taken traditions from his father, from Umar, Uthman, Ibn Masud and Ayesha. And his son, Qais, has related from him. Also (Imams of science of traditions like) Shobi, Mujahid and Zuhri have narrated from him. And Ibn Habban has considered him among reliable persons. There is a tradition from him in Sunan Abu Dawood regarding Abdur Rahman Ibn Qais and in the book of Nasai, there is a tradition about the law regarding the keeping of fast. Abu Zakaria Razi has mentioned that Ibn Zubair had appointed him as the governor of Mosul.
It is mentioned in Taqreebut Tahzib about him as follows:
Muhammad bin Ashath bin Qais Kandi Abul Qasim Kufi was a famous reporter of traditions. He is from the second category of narrators. (That is he was a companion of a companion of the Prophet – Tabeei)
Later he claimed caliphate and the Wahabi scholars say:
“He is of those on whose caliphate the community had consensus.”
So much so, that Anas Ibn Malik, the famous companion of the Prophet also gave him oath of allegiance and agreed to obey him.9
This accursed man was also among the killers of Husayn (a.s). He was also leading a battalion in Karbala’. It is mentioned in Taqreebut Tahzib that he was also a reporter of Sihah (authentic) books and his traditional reports have found place in the books of Abu Dawood and Imam Nasai.
He was among the military chiefs of Yazid. He was a companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) had informed that he would go to Hell. Thus it is mentioned about him in Sharh Ibn Abil Hadeed, Ma’rif of Ibn Qutaybah and Istiab:
“The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) glanced towards Samra, Abu Huraira and Huzaifah bin Yaman and said: ‘The last of you to die shall go to Hell.’ Abu Huraira used to say that Huzaifah died before us. Now I wish I would die before Samrah. Thus Samrah Ibn Jundab survived until the end. Until he participated in the battle of Karbala’. When Imam Husayn (a.s) headed for Iraq, Samrah was the police commissioner of Ibn Ziyad and he used to mobilize people and instigate them to rise up and fight against the Imam.”
Inspite of all this, merely on the basis of his being a companion of the Prophet he is included among narrators of ‘the first category’ and many traditions quoted by him decorate the Sihah Sittah. It is written in Istiab that:
“He is a companion and he is of those who had memorized a large number of traditions, having heard them from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) and related them in excess.”
After the account of these six army chiefs of Yazid I would like to write about some people whose enmity towards Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) generally and towards Imam Husayn (a.s) specially is well-known. The first name is that of Marwan Ibn Hakam. Please note:
His father Hakam had been exiled from Medina by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) and he was called a ‘lizard, young one of a lizard’ by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). It is mentioned in Istiab:
“Ayesha said: O Marwan! I testify that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) cursed your father while you were in his loins. That is, you are also included in that curse.”
He used to speak ill of Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s) in the presence of Imam Hasan (a.s). It was him that had prevented the burial of Imam Hasan (a.s) in the sanctuary of the Prophet. When Walid summoned Imam Husayn (a.s) and demanded allegiance of Yazid and Imam Husayn (a.s) postponed it to the following day, Marwan told Walid: “If Husayn escapes your clutches now you would never be able to subdue him. So kill him here and right now.”
Just imagine! A person like Marwan who was exiled by the Prophet from Medina. Who was cursed and called ‘lizard, young one of lizard’, who instigated the governor of Medina to kill Imam Husayn (a.s), the same Marwan is accorded such an honorable position that he is made as the caliphs and he is termed blameless in narrating traditions:
“Marwan bin al-Hakam became the caliph at the end of the year, 64 A.H.”10
Marwan bin al-Hakam has narrated traditions from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) although it is not correct to say that he heard traditions from the Prophet directly. He has also related from Uthman bin ‘Ali, Zaid bin Thabit, Abu Huraira, Bushra binte Safwan and Abdur Rahman bin Aswad bin Yaguth. From him have related his son, Abdul Malik and also Sahl bin Saad Saadi. (Who were senior in age to Marwan). Sa’eed bin Musayyab, Urwah bin Zubair, Abu Bakr bin Abdur Rahman bin Harith, Ubaidullah bin Abdullah bin Utbah, Mujahid, Abu Sufyan, Mawla bin Abi Ahmad have taken traditions from him. He was the secretary of Uthman and after the death of Muawiyah became the governor of Medina and after the death of Muawiyah bin Yazid bin Muawiyah allegiance of caliphate was paid to him. Urwah bin Zubair says that Marwan was not blameworthy in relating traditions. (That is he is reliable).11
After the long list of those who have narrated traditions from him, what is the need to say that his traditions decorate great books of Ahl al-Sunnah like Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawood, etc?
Another enemy of the Chief of the Martyrs was Abdullah bin Hani Azadi. He was a friend of Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf. He used to say that he had such merits as none possessed. ‘One is that we have never denounced the caliph Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan, secondly our ladies had made a vow that if Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (a.s) is killed each of them would give ten camels in charity. Thus they did the same. Thirdly, there is no male among us who had been told to abuse Abu Turab and he has not abused him and who has not included in his curse, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn (a.s).’12 And such an enemy of Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) and hater of the Chief of the Martyrs (a.s) is considered reliable!
Thus it is mentioned in Taqreebut Tahzib:
Abdullah bin Hani Azadi the confidant of Hajjaj bin Yusuf Thaqafi – Ajali has called him reliable. (That is, he could be trusted).
Apart from this Zahak bin Qais, Ziyad bin Sumaiyah etc. who had special attachment to Yazid and many other people are specially considered reliable and trustworthy by the Wahabis. This is one side of the coin. The second aspect is that the one who put to sword each one of these killers of the Chief of the Martyrs (a.s), that is Mukhtar Ibn Abu Ubaidah Thaqafi; he is denounced and criticized very much by them. Let us see what they say about this gentleman. It is mentioned in Lisanul Mizan about him as follows:
“Mukhtar Ibn Ubaidah Thaqafi was a great liar. It is not advisable to take any tradition from him, because he was himself deviated and he misguided others. He thought that Jibraeel had come down to him. Mukhtar is even worse than Hajjaj or is same as him. And it is said that it is this same liar that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) has mentioned in the following tradition: ‘A liar and a murderer shall emerge from the tribe of Tahqeef.’ This tradition is found in Sahih Muslim.
A reading of the above report makes one feel that Mukhtar must really be having all these defects. That is why scholars of the biographies of narrators have ridiculed him. Therefore I am quoting from the text of Allamah Ibn Abde Barr’s al-Istiab, which shows that the cause of all this poison spewing was that Mukhtar had destroyed the killers of Husayn (a.s). That is why, those who disliked this matter, decided to criticize and defame him. The Allamah says:
“Mukhtar claimed that he is the agent of Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah in the matter of taking revenge for the blood of Husayn (a.s). Thus he took the help of Ibrahim bin Malik Ashtar and pursued the killers of Husayn and killed them. Allah killed most of the killers of Husayn (a.s) at his hands and the killing of Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad also took place at the behest of Mukhtar by Ibrahim. Thus due to this, most Muslims like him and those who do not like his religion have criticized and denounced him.
That is, in other words, supporters and followers of the killers of Imam Husayn (a.s) began to criticize and defame Mukhtar.
I think that these proofs are sufficient to prove my claim that Wahabi people respect and honor the killers of Imam Husayn (a.s). Traditions of each of their chiefs decorate the Sihah books. Most of them are considered reliable, trustworthy, truthful and acceptable. One of them was made a caliph inspite of being the killer of Husayn (a.s) and another was a caliph inspite of the fact that he instigated killing of Husayn (a.s) and inspite of the fact that he was exiled by the Prophet. While the one who took revenge from these killers was called a deviant, a liar, one worse than Hajjaj, and God knows what else!